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Quarterback competition heats up in second scrimmage

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The Cougars held their second spring scrimmage Saturday, and Peyton Bender looks to be a serious contender at quarterback.

The Cougar football team took the field for its second scrimmage of the spring Saturday, and the quarterback competition appeared to get a bit tighter in the process. Jacob Thorpe has been detailing the battle throughout the last few weeks, and it appears that the game is starting to slow down a bit for Peyton Bender, with his play getting better as a result.

But the redshirt freshman from St. Petersburg, Florida, is a more natural passer and forces the defense to stick to every receiver because of his ability to throw accurately on the run, a byproduct of his advanced footwork.

What’s happened lately is that Bender has caught up in the mental side of the game and is reacting quicker, while maintaining his advantage as a thrower. This was evident during a 22-yard touchdown pass to Gabe Marks in which a defender jumped offside. Recognizing that he had a free play, Bender quickly lofted a pass to his best scoring option, deftly placing the ball away from defenders.

But he showed his shortcomings on the next play, locking his eyes on Robert Lewis and throwing off his back foot, giving cornerback Marcellus Pippins an easy interception.

Thorpe also notes that Falk is getting alot more of his reps against the starting defense, which means he's facing a more talented group of players. Meanwhile, the second team guys on offense appear to be ahead of their defensive counterparts (Kyrin Priester in particular). This makes Bender's job a little easier. I'm sure each guy will get a decent amount of plays with the first-teamers next Saturday, and hopefully they both showcase their skills. At the very least, let's hope they don't throw a bushel of picks like Tyler Bruggman did last year.

From the looks of it, this is shaping up to be one of those difficult decisions coaches face. Does Leach go with the more seasoned (albeit still pretty young) guy who is a little more steady in the pocket, or does he hand the reins to the guy who has the potential to make more explosive plays, but also has the potential to make some poor plays that hurt the team's chances?

If I had to guess, Falk will enter fall camp as the presumed leader, and Bender will have to clearly make himself "the guy," essentially giving Leach no choice but to play him. If the competition is dead even, chances are it could come down to a battle of hair. If that's the case, say 'hello' to Mr. Bender. One thing is for certain, it'll make for an intriguing spring game. Let Spokane Week begin!

Football

WSU spring football: Freshman QB Peyton Bender makes his push - Spokesman.com - April 18, 2015
What makes Leach’s choice especially interesting is that the two don’t just have different strengths, but that each are legitimately better than the other in different areas. Falk has the better command of the offense and the huddle – he’s more likely to make the correct read and less likely to make a risky turnover.

Observations from the WSU scrimmage | The Spokesman-Review
In the last week or so Peyton Bender seems to have become a lot more comfortable in the offense. He always threw a pretty, accurate ball, but appeared to force it at times and didn't always make the correct read.

Scrimmage Recap April 18 - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
My two favorite highlights: Marks makes a really nice toe-tapping touchdown catch at the :38 point, and Wicks trucks some poor safety right at the end.

WSU spring game won't feature any scoring gimmicks | The Spokesman-Review
Something tells me that Mike Leach would not be a fan of the Modified Stableford Scoring System.

NFL Draft

NFP Prospect Focus: Preston Smith and Xavier Cooper | National Football Post
During the season, you didn’t hear that much about Cooper, because he was an underclassman and he played for a poor Washington State team. When you turn on the tape, you see a hell of a football player with NFL upside.

Redskins give Washington State QB Halliday a close look - NFL.com
Halliday had a visit scheduled with the Redskins this week, according to the Washington Post. Despite the early November injury that sidelined him for the rest of the 2014, Halliday still had 3,873 yards passing and led FBS quarterbacks with 430.3 passing yards per game.

Baseball

Sagdal Powers Cougars Past Spartans, 14-2 - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Ian Sagdal had four hits, including his fourth home run of the season, and Joe Pistorese picked up his third-straight win as Washington State cruised past San Jose State, 14-2, Saturday afternoon at Bailey-Brayton Field.

Rowing

No. 10 WSU Rises to Challenge at Clemson Invite - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
No. 10 Washington State rowing won each of its heats during the morning session of the Clemson Invitational, with near-perfect conditions,

Beer

Craft Beer Line-Ups at All 30 MLB Stadiums - Eater
Here's your guide to craft beer if you plan to visit a big league ballpark this year. While I'm not sure this is a complete list, I have to say that I'm pretty disappointed in the selection at Rockies games. Come on Colorado, you have the most microbreweries in the country! Well, that's what those Armed Forces Net commercials tell me. Also, California's parks could do a lot better. Meanwhile, two parks bringing it surprisingly strong are Busch Stadium and Camden Yards. Well done, Baltimore. As expected, the craft beer selection at Safeco is once again superior to the product on the field.

Craft Beer Is Annihilating The Hop Supply
So uh, who wants to start up a hop farm with me? Heck, I'll even accept my payment in free beer, much like Kramer settled on a lifetime of free cafe lattes.

Non-Sports

Miami Vice: How a diplomat's child ended up dead
A diplomat's two sons. A drug heist gone wrong. What really happened in Miami.